Friday, January 15, 2010

Back in Japan

First of all, I would like to say that Japanese women are still crazy. I saw no less than 4 women wearing high heels or boots with heels on the frozen, uneven, slick ground. Normally I would criticize them, but none of them seemed to be in any danger of falling down. It was like they had cat tongues on the bottom of their shoes. I'm going to call them Cat Women. They're like superheros. Then there's me, who feels like she's on a treadmill when she walks up a gentle ramp.

And the low today is twelve, moving on...

Today was the first day of classes. Thank God! I get so bored when there aren't kids for me to harass. They all remembered tons more English than I thought they would.

And today, even though it was the first day of classes, the principal came into the class to watch. I kinda wished I had a little bit of time to get back into the swing of things, but maybe this means he was serious about seeing what was up. It made me realllly nervous though! I wasn't used to being a teacher again, and my head wasn't in teacher-mode, and I was faltering a little bit. Oh well. Anyways, he came in during the warm up for about five minutes, I guess just checking up on things, and he came in to the worst class, the one with paper airplanes and wrestling when the teacher is trying to talk. But the kids were so nervous about his being there that they were perfect little angels while he was there. Crap. There goes my credibility. Also, Mr. Spiky Field was the strictest I had ever seen him, and he actually raised his voice twice. But it didn't do much. Later on in the class, when it was just us two teachers, I had a kid throw a tiny piece of eraser and it landed in my face when I was helping another kid out.

Discipline problems aside, the kids were amazing at English today. We were doing the warm up (the same one we do every single day, day in and day out, that the kids have all expressed disdain for) and they were getting all the questions that started with "Do you ---?" and "Does she ---?" and they were even getting "Am I ---?" which sounds so simple but they can never get that most of the time, and this was on the first day back from a long break. I was ecstatic! So I threw a hard one in there. "Do we eat rice?" The only time they learned "We" was when he showed them the page of the 23 pronouns and told them to remember them all, over a month ago. They haven't ever used it in context. The girl that raised her hand was really shy and not very good at English, and she answered with, "Yes, I do." Mr. Spiky Field didn't like that. I was about to gently give her a hint, when he interrupted me and said, "Do WE?? WE!! You should know this! She didn't say you, why are you answering with you, she said WE! You have to use the first person possessive" and his voice had that weird uneven crack in it when someone is livid but trying not to scream. I don't think it was just anger though. I think it was everything, his own lack of self confidence, and a whole mix of emotions. But that's just a guess. But I really wanted to say something like, "Dude, just chill. I got this."

Later on when I asked another question, I think it was, "Where are you from?" and had by then gone into these-kids-are-worthless-I-have-to-spoon-feed-them-everything-translation mode, which of course is true only because he thinks it is, which makes it so. But it's not true at all, actually. So as soon as the question had left my mouth he translated it, which defeats the listening and comprehending portion of the exercise. But when he said it, it was, "Where are you FROM?" steadily growing in intensity until he got to the end where he had that little crack again, in which case I thought he was going to hit somebody, and they hadn't even made a mistake yet. Hey, buddy. Why don't you take all that excess energy and use it creatively, like making a lesson plan, or being a teacher? You've got a lot of passion there, but it's in the wrooong place.

At the end, I wanted to give them a compliment, to say that they had done a really good job that day. But Mr. Spiky Field told them to open their books before I could get the words out. Last time I gave them a compliment though, it backfired. That time I had told them they had been very quiet and didn't disrupt nearly as much as usual, and he translated and told them that they had been too loud and I was mad at them.

I hope the next time the principal comes it's not a broken until you take it to the repair shop situation. Those are no good.

Yesterday I had another funny fruit situation. I was just about to start cooking dinner, when I heard a dripping. I looked over and my ceiling was leaking again. This had happened before, but I couldn't call my landlord then because it was really late in the night, and then I went to America for two weeks (wow, it already feels so long ago!), etc. This time was fairly early in the evening so I called my adorable old lady landlord and she came over and looked at it, and went upstairs to investigate. The girl's washing machine upstairs wasn't connected to the hose all the way, so water was pooling underneath the floor. So they made sure it was connected, and all was good. A few minutes later my doorbell rang, and I finally met the upstairs neighbor, the one I call Thunderheels because she walks so loudly. I was amazed at how adorable she was. She apologized so much, and bowed a million times, adorably, and gave me a bag of apples and oranges as an I'm sorry I'm a terrible person to have inconvenienced you present. It looked very much like she had raided her own produce supply and thrown it in a bag. But that's ok. I appreciated the attempt, even if in my own culture it's overkill. So now I have a lot of fruit. Hurrah!


Vanessa Rogers said...

fruit, at least here in Korea is always welcome since it might as well cost the same amount as gold! Goodluck with your situation!!

Anonymous said...

Kimbo, you are so funny, I love it!! I've got Grand Dad's computer set up at our house, yeah for me! :) All I need now is one of those camera thingey's, isn't that how you say it hahaha
love and missing you and looking forward to our upcoming trip!
Your dear ol dad.